For kids the world over, school can feel like a punishment. Not only must they pay attention to droning adults, they have to do it on hard, wooden seats. Classroom furniture may seem like something that should take a backseat to, say, finding better teachers, but behavioral studies suggest that children focus better when they aren’t sitting still for hours on end. “These studies concluded that kids–especially the small ones–should move around during classes, because they need the physical release so they can concentrate again,” Konstantin Grcic tells Metropolis magazine. “Their bodies are growing and developing.” Working with furniture manufacturer Flötotto, the German designer developed a chair that would ergonomically support a full range of seating positions.
Grcic’s Pro has a rounded seat like a stool’s, which doesn’t force the body forward, and a curved backrest that fits into the lumbar region and provides a lip at the top, which can serve as an armrest for those who prefer to sit sideways or as a headrest for those who slide their butts forward and lean back. Although Grcic built the first prototypes out of beech veneer (a traditional choice for school furniture), Grcic switched to polypropylene about six months into the process. The more malleable (and completely recyclable) material is lighter in weight and uses less material, which translates to lower manufacturing and transportation costs.
Pro is available in three sizes (corresponding to primary, middle, and high school) and six colors. The chair was introduced to schools last spring, but Flötotto is also marketing the product for contract applications, offering an assortment of different bases, including swivel and sled-base options. (The chair will be offered in the United States for about $200.) Still, the original target users–students–stand to reap the biggest benefits, at least that’s Grcic’s hope. As he tells Metropolis: “I wanted kids to feel like they were sitting on a cool, nice chair and not necessarily that they were forced to sit on a school chair because now they were at school.”